Sunday, April 30, 2006
YOU ARE INVITED!
CRASH Part 2: Religion, Media and the First Amendment
Thursday, May 4, 2006 from 1:15 - 2:30 p.m.B.C. Student Center, Occidental Lounge
Attend CRASH Part 2, a continuation of the discussion begun with Paul Moses, Professor of Journalism at B.C., author of numerous articles on Religion and the First Amendment.
Come join us for the second time (or the first if you were not able to attend part 1). We look forward to hearing what you have to say on this topic.
A COMMUNITY BUILDING INITIATIVE – BC CIRCLES DIALOGUE (COMMITTEE IN FORMATION)
Send an e-mail to STUDENTLIFE@BROOKLYN.CUNY.EDU if you plan to attend or would like more information.
"Freedom" image captured from:
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
by Keith Zackowitz
I stumbled across Gabrielle Garcia Marquez in a trite sophomoric manner: after hearing the book Love in the Time of Cholera mentioned in a movie, I thought that reading the book would help me understand women and get a girlfriend. I was 17 and, to be honest, probably wanted more to be seen reading the book in the diner in my town – where all the waitresses were cute girls – than to actually absorb what the yellowed pages held. It didn't take long for me to stop peering over the book at my own pathetic world and be drawn into a world so vividly depicted that the dry heat burned my hands and the dusty streets made me cough.
Marquez, born in 1928 in Aracataca, Colombia, is known as a leading exponent of the literary genre known as magical realism, a style in which surreal and magical elements are imbued into an otherwise realistic setting. Though best known for his novels and short stories, he has spent much of his career as a journalist for Spanish-language newspapers, working in Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Caracas and New York.
Marquez's most famous novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, is a meditation on the nature of time and isolation, set in a South American village where strange occurrences are portrayed as common.
For me, it is the vivid language Marquez uses to paint his South American settings that has had the strongest influence on my own work. His plots are driven by place; forced onward by the flow of rivers and slowed by the strain of heat. The passion with which Marquez describes every street of every town in his world speaks to the adoration he holds for the places he has called home throughout his life. To convey my own passion for my own fleeting senses of home has been my hope every time I put pen to paper ever since Gabriel Garcia Marquez entered my world.
Photograph of Mr. Marquez captured from:
At this Moment by Christine Choi
I asked Poetry Club members what was on their mind:
"How to try to live and see in color more, not just in black and white."
"I want life to be less stressed. I want to enjoy my classes and my free time, rather than be stressed out. This is my last semester. It should be challenging and instructive, but fun."
"Grad school, student teaching (+_+)."
"The top 3 poets are: Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson, and Walt Whitman."
To join the Poetry/Creative Writing Club, e-mail Christine @ ChristineCChoi@gmail.com
Green abstract art image captured from:
"Whatever my individual desires were to be free, I was not alone. There were many others who felt the same way.”
Canuck Media Limited on War Coverage
The Canadian government has come under fire for its decision to ban media coverage of the arrival of the bodies of soldiers killed in Afghanistan. In addition, Canadian flags will no longer be flown at half-mast. Critics and opposition politicians say the move, which came on the heels of the deaths of four soldiers April 22nd, is meant to downplay the country’s death toll, now at 16.
Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper defended the decision, saying that the events were “not about photo-ops and media coverage . . . [but] what is in the best interest of the families.” Harper’s opponents have likened the government’s decisions to the policies of the Bush administration. Liberal Party leader Bill Graham said, “There are a lot of people who believe the government is simply trying to reduce public attention to the matter.”
The Canadian flag will now be lowered only on November 11th, a national holiday in remembrance of war casualties.
The Legacy of a Catastrophe
Special events have been held in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. On April 26, 1986, Reactor 4 exploded, covering vast territories with radioactive fallout, displacing the citizens of Chernobyl and neighboring cities, and bringing more than 9,000 lives to an abrupt end. Ukraine’s Health Ministry has reported that 2.34 million Ukrainians are still suffering health problems as a result of the explosion, and Greenpeace predicts an eventual death toll of 93,000.
After the disaster, authorities took two days to inform the world about the accident, a delay that resulted in more casualties. Firefighters and conscripts were sent to clean up radioactive material, some equipped only with shovels. At Wednesday’s commemoration in Chernobyl, a city now virtually deserted, Vera Kudrya, who worked at the plant, lamented: “the main tragedy for me is that our government forgot about us.”
Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said that the anniversary should be a reminder of the need for a common approach to nuclear safety, “especially as many countries are planning to build new reactors.”
Rallies by Sacked Soldiers in East Timor Turn Violent
At least two people were killed in the latest violence between East Timor police and 600 sacked soldiers who went on strike claiming discrimination.
The soldiers went absent without leave last month to protest against working conditions and what they called favoritism in promotions. The government sacked all 600 of them— more than a third of the country’s total defense force.
Many of the troops, who are veterans of the 25-year fight for independence from Indonesia, feel they have not been given the recognition they deserve for their past sacrifices, analysts said. East Timor’s government has said it will review some of the soldiers’ complaints on a case-by-case basis.
A one-time Portuguese colony, East Timor, north of Australia, became independent in 2002.
-A California woman who sued her former employer after she was spanked on the job was awarded $1.7 million in damages and compensation on Friday.
-Percentage of American men who say they would marry the same woman if they had it to do all over again: 80.
-Percentage of American women who say they would marry the same man: 50.
Public domain image of Rosa Parks captured from:
This Week in OurStory: May1-7
1672 Joseph Addison, English essayist, editor of the “Spectator,” is born
1700 John Dryden, English poet/playwright, dies
1818 José Amador de los Ríos, Spanish historian/poet, is born
1829 José M de Alencar, Brazilian writer/minister of Justice, is born
1862 Marcel Prévost, French publisher/writer, is born
1880 Conrad Weiss, German writer/poet, is born
1900 Ignazio Silone, Italian novelist/politician, is born
1909 Yannis Ritsos, Greek poet, is born
0017 Publius Ovidius Naso, Roman poet, dies
1814 Lord Byron completes "The Corsair"
1818 Lord Byron completes "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" (4th canto)
1830 Henry Kingsley, English/Australian writer, is born
1884 Jacques Chardonne, French writer, is born
1920 Isaac Asimov, Russian scientist/writer, author of I Robot, is born
1968 Sanoesi Pane, Indonesian writer, dies
0106 Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman statesman/author, is born
1730 Charles Palissot de Montenoy, French writer/politician, is born
1803 Douglas William Jerrold, English author/playwright/wit, is born
1870 Henry Handel Richardson, Australian novelist, is born
1886 John G Fletcher,
1729 Meir Bacharach, Hebrew poet, dies
1772 Paul-Louis Courier, French writer/interpreter, is born
1799 Galib Dede/Seyh Galib, Turkish poet, dies at about 40
1804 Charlotte Lennox English novelist, dies
1837 Casimiro de Abreu, Brazilian poet, is born
1878 Alfred Edgar Coppard, English writer, is born
1881 Wilhelm Lehmbruck, German painter/poet/sculptor, is born
1914 Redjâizade M Ekrem Turkish poet/writer, dies at about 66
1914 Silas Weir
1933 Lucas Lindeboom, Dutch evangelist, dies at 87
1940 Conrad Weiss, German writer/poet, dies at 59
1947 Forrest Reid, Irish author/critic, dies at 71
1965 T S Eliot poet, author of the “
1620 Miklós Zrínyi, Hungarian poet/writer, is born
1799 Mohammed Esad Galib Dede, Turkish poet, dies
1806 Andre H C van
1858 Gustaf af Geijerstam, Swedish author, is born
1902 Dorothea "Stella" Gibbons, English author, is born
1932 Umberto Eco, author of the Name of the Rose, is born
1987 Margaret Laurence, Canadian author, dies at 60
1488 Helius Eobanus Hessus, German poet, is born
1728 Domingos dos Reis Quita, Portuguese playwright/poet, is born
1732 Matija A Reljkovic, Croatian writer, is born
1826 Herman Grimm, German writer/novelist, is born
1898 Jan Filip Boon, Flemish author/editor, is born
1901 Tómas Gudmundsson, Icelandian poet, is born
1935 George P Baker,
1812 Robert Browning, English poet, is born in
1882 Willem Elsschot [Alfons J de Ridder], Flemish writer, is born
1917 Daniel Gillès, Belgian writer, is born
1930 Horst Bienek, German poet, is born
1934 Pulitzer prize awarded to Sidney Kingsley
1973 Pulitzer prize awarded to Eudora Welty
1974 Pulitzer prize awarded to Robert Lowell
TS Eliot image capture from:
Friday, April 28, 2006
During Summer Session I and Summer Session II, the English Department is running extra sessions of Core 6 for students who wish to fulfill requirements for the old Core. For more information about the summer offering, please refer to your Summer 2006 Schedule of classes, or access the Scedule of Classes on the web at: Schedule of Classes.
Please be aware that after the Summer Sessions, Core 6 will no longer be offered and English majors will be required to take English 51 and English 52 in its stead.
For more information about the New Core Curriculum, visit: http://www.brooklyn.cuny.edu/portal/core/
Abstract art image captured from: http://www.design-core.net/tutorials/adobe_photoshop/abstract_art_tutorial/
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Dear English Majors:
You are invited to the English Department's Annual Majors' Tea celebrating our students' achievements.
The Tea will be held on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 from 1:30-3:30pm in SUBO's Occidental Lounge.
The 2006 edition of the English Majors' Zine will be released, for the first time anywhere, at the Tea. Be sure to get your copy.
See you soon!
"The Tea Cup"
by Jackson Pollock
Monday, April 24, 2006
Join our rally in Washington, DC on April 30th, 2006.
The Rally to Stop Genocide will feature leading voices in the effort to stop the genocide in Darfur, including a broad spectrum of prominent faith leaders, political figures, human rights activists, celebrities, and survivors of genocide.
Transportation to the event and lunch during the trip will be provded for just $10. Buses will leave from the Brooklyn College campus to the Washington D.C. rally site. Sponsored by BC Hillel, NYPIRG, RAW, LIU Hillel, and Student Gov't.
For more information contact:
718-859-1151 ext. 19
"Speak No Evil, See No Evil, Hear No Evil"
Art by Inge Vandormael
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
The Association of Young Journalists and Writers is sponosring a $2000 Literary Essay Contest. Student who wish to participate should submit any essays they've written to http://ayjw.org.
The dealine is June 30, 2006.
To find out more about the contest, visit: http://ayjw.org/rewards.php?type-lit.
Additionally, the Journalism Studies Scholarship has been extended to English and closely related majors as well. Students me apply for the scholarship at http://ayjw.org/scholarship/info/php.
Monday, April 10, 2006
This week Anthony Punt shares a selection from the great Bob Dylan. From his classic 1966 double-album Blonde on Blonde, this is "Visions of Johanna".
Visions of Johanna
Ain't it just like the night to play tricks when
you're tryin' to be so quiet?
We sit here stranded, though we're all doin' our best
to deny it
And Louise holds a handful of rain, temptin' you to
Lights flicker from the opposite loft
In this room the heat pipes just cough
The country music station plays soft
But there's nothing, really nothing to turn off
Just Louise and her lover so entwined
And these visions of Johanna that conquer my mind
In the empty lot where the ladies play blindman's
bluff with the key chain
And the all-night girls they whisper of escapades out
on the "D" train
We can hear the night watchman click his flashlight
Ask himself if it's him or them that's really insane
Louise, she's all right, she's just near
She's delicate and seems like the mirror
But she just makes it all too concise and too clear
That Johanna's not here
The ghost of 'lectricity howls in the bones of her
Where these visions of Johanna have now taken my place
Now, little boy lost, he takes himself so seriously
He brags of his misery, he likes to live dangerously
And when bringing her name up
He speaks of a farewell kiss to me
He's sure got a lotta gall to be so useless and all
Muttering small talk at the wall while I'm in the hall
How can I explain?
Oh, it's so hard to get on
And these visions of Johanna, they kept me up past the
Inside the museums, Infinity goes up on trial
Voices echo this is what salvation must be like after
But Mona Lisa musta had the highway blues
You can tell by the way she smiles
See the primitive wallflower freeze
When the jelly-faced women all sneeze
Hear the one with the mustache say, "Jeeze
I can't find my knees"
Oh, jewels and binoculars hang from the head of the
But these visions of Johanna, they make it all seem so
The peddler now speaks to the countess who's
pretending to care for him
Sayin', "Name me someone that's not a parasite and
I'll go out and say a prayer for him"
But like Louise always says
"Ya can't look at much, can ya man?"As she, herself, prepares for him
And Madonna, she still has not showed
We see this empty cage now corrode
Where her cape of the stage once had flowed
The fiddler, he now steps to the road
He writes ev'rything's been returned which was owed
On the back of the fish truck that loads
While my conscience explodes
The harmonicas play the skeleton keys and the rain
And these visions of Johanna are now all that remain
Once again, Elina Bloch.
At This Moment…
"I am concerned that the U.S. does not produce 0.3 mm pens, with which it is so smooth and easy to write. The thinnest pen the Americans produce is 0.5mm. I spend an exorbitant amount of money, about $100, in order to get the pens I want. Sometimes, I even have to wait for my aunt to bring me pens from Korea. If you don’t have a good pen, you just don’t feel like taking notes; then, you just don’t take notes. So, this is not a matter of being spoiled: this is a matter of not failing college!"
"Since I began my college career 8 years ago, I expected a greater sense of relief in graduating than I now find. It seems that amid the chaos of my final semester of undergrad I have no time to contextualize the achievement. That being said, my hope is that the relief when the work is finally completed will overshadow the memory of chaos, making it all worth while."
"I have been accepted to two graduate programs in Art History. One has a great reputation; the other one is the one I really want to attend. I have chosen the latter. Will I regret my choice? Or will I be happy that I listened to my heart rather than to my mind? Thinking about the answers scares me."
"I am planning to take a year off after I graduate. Being in college for 6 years, working full-time, and taking classes in the evenings exhausted me. I really need a break."
A strong nation, like a strong person, can afford to be gentle, firm, thoughtful, and restrained. It can afford to extend a helping hand to others. It's a weak nation, like a weak person, that must behave with bluster and boasting and rashness and other signs of insecurity.
Donkeys Better Than Wives
A textbook used at schools in Rajasthan, a western Indian state known for its conservative attitude toward women, compares wives to donkeys, claiming that the latter are better companions because they complain less and are more loyal to their ‘masters.’ “A donkey,” the book says, “is like a housewife…In fact, the donkey is a shade better, for while the housewife may sometimes complain and walk off to her parents’ home, you’ll never catch a donkey being disloyal to his master.”
The textbook, intended for 14-years-old students, was approved by the state’s Hindu Nationalist party government but has evoked protests from the party’s women’s wing. The state’s education official, A.R. Khan, has said that the comparison “was made in good humor.” However, as a result of the protests, the board of education is in the process of removing the reference from the book.
Iraqi Gays Murdered While U.S. Watches
According to gay Iraqi expatriates, the Badr Corps have waged a ruthless pogrom against gay Iraqis, luring them out of hiding via Internet chat rooms and then beating and murdering them. Despite their call for help, the U.S. occupying forces in Iraq have turned a blind eye to the Iraqi gays’ plea. "These assaults and murders have been reported to the Green Zone, but the Americans don't want to upset the religious authorities, and so they do nothing or treat gay Iraqis with contempt or as an object of humor," said Ali Hill, a gay Iraqi exile who currently resides in London.
Iraq's Badr Corps are supported by the Iranian government, which has used similar entrapment tactics against its gay citizens, and the powerful Shia group the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). Violence against Iraqi gays has escalated since last October when Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani issued a fatwa declaring that gays "should be killed in the worst, most severe way" possible. The Badr Corps monitor the activities of unmarried and effeminate men and warn them to change their behavior—those who do not comply are arrested. When their bodies are found, they are bound and blindfolded with gunshot wounds to the back of their heads.
Many gay Iraqis fear that the Badr Corps-SCIRI pogrom will become an official policy with recent news reports that Abdel Mahdi, a leading SCIRI figure and current Iraqi vice president, will become Iraq's prime minister. The Iraqi Constitution, which was brokered by the U.S., codifies Shiria law, which mandates death for homosexuals, as the foundation of all Iraqi law.
TransMedicine for Transgender Patients
"Circle one: Male/Female" does not pose a problem for most people who fill out forms at the doctor's office. However, it does cause complications to more patients than one would expect. Transgender patients face difficulties in one of the most critical areas--medical care. According to statistical estimates, it is highly likely that every practicing physician will encounter at least one transgender patient during his or her career. Providing good health care for such patient calls for very specific skills, which doctors have not been willing to acquire.
Expertise, however, is only a part of the question. The other is compassion. "Many transgender persons fear doctors--so they simply don't see them," says cardiologist Dr. Rebecca Allison. Health-care avoidance seriously complicates the medical risks transgender patients naturally face, for they sometimes seek strong hormones on the black market. One tragic story is that of Robert Eads, a female-to-male transsexual who died from ovarian cancer after more than two- dozen physicians refused him treatment. The transgender community is growing and the provisions for it should follow suit.
Hurt, Avery. "TransMedicine." The New Physician. April 2006: 26-28.
No Training for Ugandan HIV troops
Justifying their decision on humanitarian grounds, the Ugandan military has ceased training the HIV-positive troops in some army programs. In order not to shorten the lives of infected soldiers, military officials barred them from strenuous physical preparation. The army spokesperson had stressed that these actions are not to be viewed as discriminatory against theHIV-positive troopers.
Nonetheless, the decision of the Ugandan military has been criticized by the AIDS campaigners, who called it a manifestation of "ignorance" about the virus and argued that, provided appropriate medical treatment, infected soldiers can "take part in normal military operations." Military officials report that although the country is involved in an armed conflict with rebels in the north, more Ugandan troopers "are dying from HIV or AIDS-related diseases" than from war wounds.
The virus has killed about a million Ugandans, but the country's government prides itself on dramatically reducing the infection rate from 15% to 5%. This success is due to the so-called ABC campaign, which promotes Abstinence, Be Faithful doctrine, and Condoms as basic preventative measures against the virus.
-A male kangaroo is called a Boomer
-A female kangaroo is called a Flyer
-The hummingbird is the only bird that can fly backwards
-A hummingbird's heart beats 1,400 times a minute
-There is one million ants to every human in the world
Sunday, April 09, 2006
This Week in OurStory: April 3-9
1485 Lieven van der Maude, South Netherlandian poet, is born
1525 Giovanni Rucellai, Italian poet, dies at 49
1593 George Herbert, English metaphysical poet, is born
1822 Edward Everett Hale, US clergyman/author, is born
1881 Margaret MJ "Daisy" Ashford, English author, is born
1945 Joseph Weinheber, Austrian poet/writer, dies at 43
1604 Thomas Churchyard, poet/pamphleteer, dies
1785 Bettina von Arnim, German writer, is born
1828 Margaret Oliphant, Scottish novelist/biographer, is born
1832 Jose Echegaray y Elizaguirre, playwright/scientist, is born
1862 Harmen S Sytstra, Dutch poet/editor, dies at 45
1915 Lars G Ahlin, Swedish writer, is born
1930 Vladimir Majakovski, Russian poet, translator of Shakespeare’s sonnets into Russian, dies 1984 Winston Smith in Orwell's "1984" begins his secret diary
1725 Giacomo Casanova, Italian writer/philanderer/adventurer, is born
1765 Edward Young, English poet, dies at 81
1824 Sydney Thompson Dobell, poet, is born
1893 Pál Szabó, Hungarian farmer/author, is born
1920 Arthur Hailey Luton, English novelist, is born
1944 Isolde Kurz, German writer/poetess, dies at 90
1997 Allen Ginsberg, beat poet, author of “Howl,” dies at 70
1348 Petrarch's Laura dies of plague
1671 Jean-Baptiste Rousseau, French playwright/poet, is born
1806 Elizabeth Barrett Browning, poet, author of “Sonnets from the Portuguese,” wife of Robert Browning, is born
1992 Isaac Asimov, Russian science fiction writer, author of I Robot, dies from kidney failure at 72
1935 John Pepper Clark, Nigerian writer, is born
1940 Homero Aridjis, Mexican poet, is born
1770 William Wordsworth, English poet laureate, author of “The Prelude,” is born
1850 William Lisle Bowles, English poet, dies at 87
1889 Gabriela Mistral, Chilean poet, is born
1912 Valère Depauw, Flemish writer, is born
1984 Samuel G Engel, screenwriter/poet, dies of heart failure at 79
1582 Phienas Fletcher, poet, is born
1741 José B da Gama, Portuguese poet, is born
1911 Émile Michel Cioran, Romanian writer, is born
1948 Josef B Kjellgren, Swedish writer, dies at 40 1950 Albert Ehrenstein, Austrian writer, dies at 63
1992 After 151 years Britain's "Punch Magazine" final issue
1553 François Rabelais, French author, dies at 49
1852 John Howard Payne, actor/playwright, dies
1855 Gyula Reviczky, Hungarian author/poet, is born
1886 Joseph V von Scheffel, German writer, dies at 60
1917 Johannes Bobrowski, writer, is born
1917 Edward Thomas, poet, killed in WWI
1986 Jean Mogin, Belgian poet, dies at 64
Friday, April 07, 2006
Do you remember that incredibly moving poem we posted a while back entitled, "Love after 9/11" by Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz?
No? Refresh your memory:
Would you like to read more like it or find out about its author?
Yes? Cool! Visit:
Thursday, April 06, 2006
The Magner Center for Career Development and Internships
JFEW* Summer Internship Program
Open to women of all backgrounds.
Preference will be given to early applicants
· The JFEW Summer Internship Program offers 10 cash awards to help students accept off-campus, un-paid internships for summer 2006 and summer 2007.
· Undergraduate women will be awarded funds based on their financial need to accept an un-paid internship.
· Applicants must submit all application materials by Wednesday, April 12, 2006.
Magner Center for Career Development and Internships
Zavi Baynes or Pamela Brown
1303 James Hall
2900 Bedford Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11210
Phone: (718) 951-5696
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Monday, April 03, 2006
From our muse, the esteemed Dr. Roni Natov, comes a poem by Heid Erdrich entitled, "Postpartum V." Enjoy!
You never know what a man can be
until he wakes along with you
in the boat of night.
He treated me so kindly,
as if I were someone he knew.
Remind me, I asked and he spoke
in a coaxing tone so girl I was
came near enough for me to see.
We three made our passage
safe through rocking waters
to the calms of our own dawn-fogged sea.
One day that girl worked her way
back into my laugh.
Welcome back honey,
I don't blame you-don't run off.
And our son opened the depths of his eyes,
so we both let go, let his huge blue soul
swallow us whole.
This week Keith Zackowitz, ever the journalist, intuited that something was bugging his friend Robert Jones, Jr....At this moment.
Keith asked and Robert responded:
"James Baldwin said, 'I want to be a good writer and an honest man.' Me, too. But, I'm insecure. And I can't help it. I can't stop worrying about whether or not I'm going to make it into a good MFA program (I was rejected by Columbia University), or if I'm even supposed to be in an MFA program. Maybe, I'm supposed to be in a PHD program (or maybe not). The Netherverse is welcoming.
"I can't stop thinking about how peculiar and burdensome it is to be a Black man at Brooklyn College: rare, threatening, visible, invisible, disconnected, frightening, empowering, emboldening—simultaneously the object of desire and disdain (hung/hanged). A dichotomy. Surreal. Basquiat lost in Greece. Athena springing, fully-armored, from Zeus’ head.
"I can't stop thinking about how difficult it is to be considered intellectual: everyone expects, everyone asks, everyone persists, everyone suffocates.
"What does it mean to be a writer? Am I to starve for my art or am I to work at a job that I despise and write in tiny corners until someone with fat pockets takes notice and says, 'He's good'? Or is it enough that I take this unbearable pain and confusion and write it down? No, that just makes me a witness, I think.
"At this moment, all I know for sure is that I want to be a good writer and an honest man. All I desire is to be the change I wish to see, but I’ve no idea if I'm on the correct path.
"Stability and peace in our land will not come from the barrel of a gun, because peace without justice is an impossibility."
-Archbishop Desmond Tutu
The Dark Side of the Moon
Yesterday, the first total solar eclipse in years swept northeast across the globe, shadowing everything from Brazil to Mongolia. In this rare alignment, the only visible part of the sun was its corona, the barely visible extended atmosphere that glowed a dull yellow during the eclipse.
The umbra, or darkest part of the moon's shadow, followed a "path of totality" meaning that the sun's rays were completely blocked. The outer part of the shadow created by the moon, or the penumbra, did not completely block the sun's rays, so areas covered by the penumbra only experienced partial darkness.
One of the best locations to view the eclipse was in Libya, where the eclipse lasted for over four minutes. The last total solar eclipse was in November 2003, best viewed from Antarctica, but yesterday's eclipse occurred over highly populated areas such as Ghana, Libya, Syria and Turkey, where schools closed to watch the eclipse.
Total eclipses are rare because they require that the orbits of the sun, moon and earth line up exactly, with the moon obscuring the sun completely. The next total solar eclipse will occur August 1, 2008.
India’s Sex Selection Curbed
A doctor and his assistant were sentenced to jail Tuesday for disclosing the gender of a fetus, a practice that has led to the selective abortion of millions of females in India. Dr. Sabani and his assistant, Kartar Singh, were caught during a sting operation. Sabani was secretly videotaped telling one woman that she was carrying a “female fetus and it would be taken care of.”
Under Indian law, ultrasound tests on a pregnant woman done specifically to determine the gender of the fetus are illegal, but convictions are rare due to corrupt officials and slow judicial processes.
A study published in the medical journal Lancet in January estimated that as many as 10 million female fetuses might have been aborted in India in the last 20 years because of a traditional Indian preference for sons. Since daughters will eventually belong to the family of their future husband, expenditure on them is considered to only benefit others.
With ultrasound equipment more widely available and affordable to clinics, the Indian cultural preference for sons has distorted the sex ratio across the nation. In 1991, there were about 945 girls born per 1,000 boys, but this dropped to 927 by 2001, according to the national census.
Athough abortion is legal in India, aborting on grounds of the sex of the fetus is not.
France's Black Tuesday
In France, protests against the controversial new youth employment law continue. The employment contract law—called the CPE—makes it easier for employees to fire workers under 26 years of age at any time during a two year trial period. Government officials say that the new policy will encourage employers to hire young people; the protesters claim that the law will erode job stability.
More than 1 million students and unionized workers took to the Parisian streets on Tuesday. While police estimated 1,055,000 people took part in the protests, the organizers asserted the number of protesters was closer to three million. The initially peaceful protests turned into chaos when troublemakers, known as “smashers,” hurled at riot police anything from rocks and cans to bottles and bicycles. The police, in turn, responded with tear gas and water cannon.
The vast majority of protest chants and banners were not directed at the job-contract law, but at France’s Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin, and his Interior Minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, who called on the police to “arrest as many hooligans and thugs” as possible. De Villepin himself made it clear that he would not withdraw the law, telling the parliament that he would “convince all of France with [his] actions that the future can be better than the present.” In contrast, union leader Bernard Thibault declared: “For us there is just one outcome and that is the withdrawal of this reform.”
-In England, in the 1880's, “pants” was considered a dirty word.
-America once issued a 5-cent bill.
-It's against the law to slam your car door in Switzerland.
-A company in Taiwan makes dinnerware out of wheat, so you can eat your plates.
Sunday, April 02, 2006
This Week in OurStory, March 27-April 2
1472-- Janus Pannonius, Hungarian poet/translator, dies at 37
1665—Benjamin Neukirch, German poet, is born
1797—Alfred V Compte de Vigny, French musketeer/writer, is born
1875-- Edgar Quinet, French writer/historian, dies at 72
1914—Budd Schulberg, novelist, is born in NYC
1923-- Louis Simpson, Jamaican/US poet, is born
1515-- Theresa of Avila/Teresa de Jesus, Spanish mystic writer/saint, is born
1660-- Arnold Houbraken, Dutch schilder/writer, is born
1687-- Constantine Huygens, diplomat/poet/composer, dies at 90
1731-- Ramon de la Cruz, Spanish playwright/interpreter, is born
1868-- Maxim Gorki, Russian writer, is born
1909-- Nelson Algren, US novelist, is born
1942-- Miguel Hernadez Gilabert, Spanish poet, dies at 31
1602-- John Lightfoot, English theologist/literary, is born
1817-- Constantine S Aksakov, Russian historian/poet, is born
1826-- J H Voá, writer, dies at 75
1901-- Frans U Kailas, Finnish poet, is born
1963-- Pola Gojawiczynska, Polish author, dies at 64
1674-- Jethro Tull, agricultural writer, is baptized
1879-- Thomas Couture, French painter/author, dies at 63
1880-- Sean O'Casey, Irish playwright, is born
1895-- Jean Giono, French writer, is born
1903-- Countee Cullen, US poet, is born
1621-- Andrew Marvell, English poet, author of “To His Coy Mistress,” is born
1631-- John Donne, metaphysical poet, dies
1809-- Nikolai Gogol, father of 19th-century Russian realism, author of Dead Souls, is born
1809-- Edward FitzGerald, English writer, is born
1855-- Charlotte Bronte, English writer, author of Jane Eyre, dies at 38
1933-- 1st newspaper published on pine pulp paper, "Soperton News"
1938-- Willem J T Kloos, Dutch poet/critic, dies at 78
1807-- Fredrik Cygnaeus, Finnish poet/literature critic, is born
1864-- Marie Jungius, Dutch fairy tale writer, is born
1868-- Edmond Rostand, French poet/playwright, is born
1875-- Edgar Wallace, English novelist/playwright/journalist, is born
1898-- Pola Gojawiczynska, Polish writer, is born
1916-- Sjoerd van der Schaaf, Frisian journalist/writer, dies
1952-- Ferenc Molner, Hungarian playwright, dies at 76
1713-- Onno Zwier van Haren, Frisian poet, is born
1805-- Hans Christian Andersen, author of 150 fairy tales, is born in Denmark
1840-- Emile Zola, French novelist, author of “J'Accuse” in defense of Dreyfus, is born
1929-- Catherine Gaskin, romantic novelist, is born
1938-- Alice Berend, writer, dies
Saturday, April 01, 2006
by Christine Choi
They say there is a dying star which is traveling in two directions
Don’t brood over how you may have behaved last night. If you
Can’t remember that much about it, don’t ask anyone else about it
Except a little, in case you were wonderful in your abandon.
Don’t gloat if you were wonderful, for you have a hangover, ass;
Soon you will be old and you will still be this childish.
It is precisely a tremulous April new day. Things that
Might be found in a pill bottle include a tiny photograph.
A sponge besides being an animal that looks and grows like a plant
Is a thing in your kitchen sink that comes to smell peculiar
& gets neglected to be replaced. Many things, like yourself,
Are often misleading, transformed, or elsewhere. In the morning
When you awaken, your body is already here for you.
-Opening excerpt from Alice Notley’s “The Prophet”
In honor of National Poetry Month, I thought it fit to pay tribute to the phenomenal poet, Alice Notley. I first came across the works of Alice Notley through an introductory creative writing class. Notley’s poems, especially “The Prophet,” helped to change my perception of poetry, with regard to its language, form and content. I learned there is no single set of rules by which all poets must abide. Rather, we devise of our own and have the liberty to follow our idiosyncratic whims. Whether we want to be quasi-autobiographical, non-linear or Witmanesque, it’s our choice.
I also discovered the versatility of the poem—its ability to convey multitudes, to choreograph emotion, to transport. If you want to disappear from the world for a while, I’ve found that poems are most conducive to hiding. As T.S. Eliot said, there is only so much reality one can stand.
I hope that my celebration of Alice Notley inspires the celebration of other poets, discovered and undiscovered, and motivates aspiring writers to experiment with their own writing.
The following Alice Notley biography includes excerpts from SUNY Buffalo’s Electronic Poetry Center (http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/notley/) and is combined with a few select quotes from Notley with regard to poetry and her writing:
Alice Notley was born in 1945 in Bisbee, Arizona. She received a B.A from Barnard College, in 1967, and an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa in 1969. She married the writer Ted Berrigan in 1972, with whom she had two sons: Anselm and Edmund. After Berrigan’s death in 1983, she married the British poet Doug Oliver and relocated to Paris, France.
“With the move to Paris I've lost lots of my old social self, and having that taken away from me, I've come to notice that all that's left is my self! And I know it's there!”
Notley’s writing and art responds to a broad spectrum of American culture. Her experiments with poetic forms and free verse owe as much to Gertrude Stein, Frank O’Hara, and Ted Berrigan as they do to William Carlos Williams. Like them, she believes that she is writing primarily to express her own personal tone of voice. She feels her speech is the voice of “the new wife, and the new mother” in her own time, but her first aim is to make a poem, rather than present a platform of social reform.
“It’s the musical glue between words that’s important to me and the sense of saying something deep in the way that poetry says it.”
“The poem, for me, tells the truth . . . my poems almost all have recognizable content, something available that has to do with thought, truth, perception, trying to find a real-moment reality.”
Notley was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Poetry. In the spring of 2001 she received an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Poetry Society of America’s Shelly Memorial Award. She edited and wrote a new introduction to her late husband Ted Berrigan’s The Sonnets (Penguin, 2000).
In addition to poetry, Notley has also experimented with the visual arts; her collection includes collages, watercolors, and sketches.